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Damn Good Time is the follow-up to The Nighthawks’ Last Train to Bluesville, which garnered the band its first-ever Blues Music Award from the Blues Foundation as Acoustic Blues Album of the Year in May 2011.
“This is a totally cool moment to be into my 41st year as a Nighthawk, the last of the originals, as we release our first album with the band as it is today, the band I have been working toward since early 1972,” says frontman Mark Wenner. “Paul Bell and Johnny Castle are deep into a decade with the band. Mark Stutso, after two years of hard road and 500 shows, at last appears on his first album as a Nighthawk. Singing lead on five tunes and involved in the creation of four, he and Johnny are a magnificent groove machine. And the harmonies! I dreamed of them, too, when I began dreaming of a band like this.”
Going into their fifth decade, The Nighthawks are blessed to have three strong lead singers, and they take advantage of the unique qualities of the trio of Wenner, Stutso and Castle. The wide array of originals and covers demonstrates The Nighthawks’ great strength as a true American roots music band. They roar through a repertoire of everything from blues and soul to rock and rhythm and blues on Damn Good Time. Bassist Johnny Castle contributes the romping “Bring Your Sister,” and also sings on a version of Jimmy McCracklin’s “Georgia Slop.” The band taps into the songbooks of good friends and kindred spirits, Billy Price and Norman Nardini and serves up spirited takes on classics from Elvis (“Too Much”), Nat King Cole (“Send for Me”) and Wilbert Harrison (“Let’s Work Together’), as well as a raucous “Smack Dab in the Middle.”
- from Paul Bell to Holly Hicks and to Johnny for the resonator guitar.
- from Johnny Castle to Jana Lea Castle, Kimberly Grainger, in memory of Phyllis (Mom) Grainger, The Thrillbillys for puttin’ up with me, and all the friends and fans who have been coming out to support live music!
- from Mark Stutso to the Stutso family, Elaine, Grace and Anna, Tim and Vicki Powers at SuperTraxx Radio, Warren King, Glenn Pavone, Norman Nardini, Chuck Kohler, Pro-Mark drumsticks, and Matt Spielman.
- from Mark Wenner to Kathy (and Allie) Wenner, Max and Sharon, Charlie the K, BMA Tours, Jeff Schwartz, Bill Wax, Tracy Nelson and Tommy Lepson.
Mark Wenner: Harmonica
Paul Bell: Guitar
Johnny Castle: Bass
Mark Stutso: Drums
Produced by The Nighthawks and David Earl
Recorded at Severn Sound Studio, Annapolis, MD
Engineered by David Earl
Mixed by David Earl and The Nighthawks
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer and Mark Wenner, Airshow Mastering, Takoma Park, MD
Cover Art & Design by Dick Bangham
Photography by Sam Holden
Mark Wenner plays Hohner Marine Band harmonicas specially prepared by Craig Gaylor.
This recording is dedicated to the memory of our friend Hubert Sumlin.